The public discussion about energy prices for the next year, and especially about the price of electricity, arouses more emotions than any other discussion, yet the result is almost negligible. What actually happened: The Energy Regulatory Office proposed how much the regulated part of the electricity supply price for the customer should increase next year.
The opposition and part of the experts and the public reacted to this by shouting that the price would rise unbearably, even by tens of percent. Prime Minister Petr Fiala then called a special press conference, where he explained that electricity will become more expensive by a maximum of one percent and for most families it will not become more expensive at all.
It was at that moment that the question arose as to why electricity does not become cheaper when the energy crisis is over and everything returns to normal conditions.
In short, a household with the most common rate D02, which uses electricity only for lighting and the operation of common appliances, paid six crowns per kilowatt-hour of electricity before the crisis. Last year, after the first increase in price, a kilowatt-hour cost about eight crowns. Since this January, when customer protection weakened, it has reached ten crowns. Over the course of the year, it will be ten crowns again.
Although the price of electricity itself will drop by one crown or fifty crowns per kilowatt hour, distribution will become more expensive, or some fees that the state treasury paid for consumers during the crisis will be renewed.
There is no convincing answer yet
Debates about electricity prices are complex, but the basic problem is easy. Before the crisis, electricity cost six crowns per kilowatt-hour, so why won’t it drop to six crowns again after the return to normal. The consumer can put all the complexities of the experts’ interpretations aside and draw a relatively simple conclusion: The person who produces or sells electricity increased his income during the crisis, and now he does not want to lose it.
Some experts claim that the price of electricity as such, sometimes called power electricity, is determined by the European market, and so far prices have not gone down on it, as is happening, for example, on the gas market. But it is not clear if any electricity market works at all, or how efficient it is.
For example, households in all Visegrad countries pay less for electricity than the Czechs and, according to Eurostat, domestic rates overtook Austria, for example, during the crisis. Electricity has become cheaper in most European countries, but Czechs can’t wait for it.
For example, the European market does not work and the prices for customers are primarily determined by the regulations of which government. This raises the question from the consumer’s point of view, why the local government has not reduced the price through its regulations. Perhaps it is possible to explain why it is not possible in the Czech Republic, but a convincing answer is not yet on the table.
The author is a reporter for the Seznam Správy server